Writing a family budget can be a daunting task.
Finding and plugging up the many spending holes draining your savings fund can be an effort, but the results are rewarding.
Dedicate some time this week and take the pledge to get your family budget under control once and for all. You could start saving money today!
Top tips for creating your family budget
1) Book a family meeting
A family budget will not be successful without all members of the household being on board.
Include young and old and explain (in kid language if necessary – this is a great opportunity to teach your kids/teenagers about income and expenditure!) why you need to have a budget and what you hope to achieve by creating one.
Have all your household members agree to be honest about their current spending habits and agree to stick with a new budget once one is created.
2) Spending diaries
Logging all of the money you spend is crucial to creating a successful family budget.
All members of your household should grab a notebook or download an app on their phones/iPads that allows them to easily note down and track how much they are spending.
Obviously this exercise relies on all members being completely honest about their spending habits – you simply cannot hide any money that you have spent, or this will make this step pointless!
For four weeks, note down every cent (no matter how small) that you actually spend. Buy a coffee? Write it down. Pay a bill? Write it down. Literally anything that you spend – put it on your tally.
3) Create A Master Spreadsheet
Gather all your household bills and your spending diaries together.
Create a spreadsheet (this will become your ‘master Spreadsheet’) and put all your regular expenses onto it.
Add in your income sources in another section of the spreadsheet and minus your expenses from your income total to discover how much your projected savings amount is.
4) Goals & Reality
Book another family meeting with all household members that completed the spending diary.
Using the Master Spreadsheet, discuss and create saving and spending goals for your family.
For example, “we want to put $100 a month extra into our savings account,” or, “we will reduce our electricity consumption by $50.00 a bill”.
Ensure that when you create a goal, you are writing down the action step that you will take to complete the goal. For example, “we will stop buying takeaway coffee and put this money into our savings account”.
The aim of this discussion is for all members of the family to face the reality of the household’s spending habits and increase the rate of savings in the household.
Don’t forget to add in an agreed amount every week into your budget to act as an emergency fund. This fund amount will act as a buffer for your family, in the case that an unexpected event occurs.
5) Set up systems
Create easy systems in your household to help you achieve your saving goals. Setting up regular direct debit into your savings account will allow you to ‘set and forget’ – and give your savings account a great chance at growing.
Ensuring you are able to avoid spending temptation is also another fantastic way of consciously deciding to save. For example, avoiding a trip to the shop (where you know you maybe tempted into spending money) is a targeted way of sticking to your saving plan.
Being realistic about both your spending and saving habits is a really positive way of helping your family reach their saving goals.
Don’t forget to organise regular reviews of your household budget. Creating a regular time to meet with your household and discuss your progress and saving achievements is a fantastic way to both encourage each other and keep on track.
Household budgeting initially can initially seem a little dull in its appeal, it is vitally important to ensure the saving success of your family.
Having all members of the family on board to really concentrate on plugging all the spending holes and funnelling, as much money into your savings account is also critical for achieving long-term success.
How do you and your family arrange planning your budget? Please share your ideas below.